Hoopfulbride's Blog

Planning a wedding in a place called The Hope

Don’t worry, I’m back! 6 October 2009

Filed under: frock,fynbos,honeymoon,Things I love,weekend away wedding (WAW) — hoopfulbride @ 12:03 pm

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And married… how blissful!

To answer the Two Burning Questions:

Question One: Was it the best day of my life?

For starters, I think that makes life pretty restricted. I’ve had some incredible days to date and hope to have many more.

One thing is for sure, though, I will always think back to our wedding weekend with a glow and a grin. It was a time full of love and laughter and beauty. There were numerous times Rooster and I looked at each other and laughed a disbelieving guffaw at just how perfectly fabulous everything had turned out (and when I say “perfect”, I don’t mean “soperfectthatnothingwentwrongever”… I just mean that it was so joyful we couldn’t believe it was happeneing to us!).

Question Two: Where was the honeymoon?

Romantic, mystical, gorgeous (and there are a lot of gorges around as well) Victoria Falls.

We spent 4 nights in the bush at Matetsi Private Game concession on the Zimbabwian side of the magestic Zambezi, where we were treated like royalty! We slept and ate and went on game drives and unsuccessfully fished for tiger fish and wallowed in our memories of the WAW.

And we finished the week off in the marvellous and ridicuously colonial Victoria Falls Hotel… in the honeymoon suite (of course), which prompted many knowing smiles from the staff.

This time too is amongst the happiest times of my life…

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And on to the important stuff: booze 22 July 2009

Filed under: being thrifty,De Hoop,foodndrink,fynbos,Things I love,Uncategorized — hoopfulbride @ 2:25 pm

I love a good wine… As a result of our road-trippin, Rooster and I can now proudly boast that we have selected our wines and beer to serve at the nuptial celebrations. And since I hadn’t told you about the  (already selected) bubbles, I may as well fill you in on that too.

SAfrica is jammed packed with all manner of delicious wines, so the prospect of choosing wedding wines can be a little over-whelming. to make it easier on ourselves, we decided to keep it in the area and (as far as possible) source the wines from close to De Hoop (the Overberg).

Our bubbles come from Weltevrede farm: the Philip Jonker Brut Entheos. It is delicious and reminds me of pears everytime i drink it, although the experts describe it as “a lively mousse, creamy biscuit on the palate and long aftertaste. A vibrant Cap Classique to celebrate every day.”

Even better for me is the description given by the winemaker : “Entheos. I chose the word Entheos as it expresses exactly what this wine is about. Enthusiasm. Joy. Life within. The energy of spontaneous laughter. Freedom.”

I love it! And, they have offered to sell it to us at wholesale prices, i.e. for R48 (+/- $5,65) a bottle!

More on Weltevrede wines and their delicious cap classiques here.

Rooster and I quaffed a great many white wines to narrow down our final selection (oh, life’s tough, but somebody’s got to quaff delicious white wine…). We decided that it would probably be best to chose two whites (a sauvigon blanc that is so typical of the region – and a chardonnay type wine) to satisfy all tastes (and with 200 people, there really are ALL kinds of tastes…

The 2006 Zoetendal Sauvingon Blanc was the winner: light, a touch of asparagus and litchi and a mineral aftertaste that is really typical of Elim (where the wine is from)

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Our Not-SavBlanc is the 2008 First Sighting Chardonnay Semillon Viognier (i.e. NOT a Sav Blanc, but pretty much a whole lot of other stuff!). the official tasting comments describe it as: “Fresh citrus and crisp apple flavours that surprise with peach and floral undertones combined with indigenous Elim fynbos aromas. Light and fruity with a clean minerality on the aftertaste” – pretty fabulously described, m’thinks.

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The beauty about both of our chosen whites is that they are flavoursome enough for the wine-snobs (whom I love), but friendly enough for the crowds AND they come with a very wedding-friendly price tag: R40 a bottle each (i.e. about $4.70).

The red is a tad trickier: We LOVE the 2007 Jean Daneel Initial Red (described here), a blend of Merlot, Cab Sav, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc AND Shiraz. It is a fabulous, blend that is medium-bodied and full of berry and woody flavours, BUT there are two MAJOR problems…

1. There may not be enough of the wine to actually serve our guesty-poos. It’s a really small boutique winery and this wine is seriously delicious, so we may have a problem getting enough on our tables… AND

2. We have not negotiate the price… which may end up being too exorbitant… Now, this is a great value-for-money wine, but we really need to get as much as a discount as is possible and this may not be possible give the extremely low stocks of the wine. Sigh. Hold thumbs, Internet!

Lastly, we have narrowed the beer down to the Birkenhead Lager or Pilsner: tasting consultations are currently in progress with my father and Rooster’s brother-in-law: our two most passionate beer-drinkers! We will get some kegs and serve it on tap… because we’re fun like that… and it’s cheaper… and we’re cheap like that!

Of course, with all that “tasting”, we got a little tipsy and took some silly shots:

 

and they’re off!!! 13 July 2009

Filed under: being thrifty,fynbos,Invites — hoopfulbride @ 11:51 am

Those invitations. Despite the last-minute breaking of the round corner punch and despite Rooster nearly loosing the invoice so we nearly couldn’t get a replacement and the resultant abundance of vented emotion as i was running late to catch my plane to Jozi on Friday afternoon, we finally got those invites in their envelopes and they’re hitting the post office today!

Werewith, the story of our invites:

Step One: Rooster and I took a whole lot of close up pics of fynbos flowers at every opportunity we had. Some we took on weekends away, some on evening traipses on table mountian, some in our garden, some (even) of cut flowers in our home. All in all, we ended up using 56 of our favourite shots. These formed the front side of the postcards that made up the invite, as seen below en masse

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Step two: We thought up some savvy copy for our invites: we wanted something quite casual and we also wanted to remind our guests that we have different activities happening on each day. We enlisted the assitance of our beautiful graphic designer friend to help us make the invites look a little more like postcards. We think she was brilliant! And please note the cockerel stamp – in line with Rooster and my agreement that my family emblem would become our family emblem!

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The main invite: please excuse the scrappy gold blanking (I’m not sure how effective it was in any event!).

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The invite for the braai competition (complete with South Africanisms – apologies to foreign readers).

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The invite for Friday Activity Day.

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And the invite (to closest friends and family) for the traditional post wedding prawn braai!

At this point I should note that we have purposely misspelt “prauwne” – the story goes back to a trip to Mozambique a few years ago where they pronounce the shrimp-like crustacean just like it’s spelt above. To my delight, I once spotted a sign from a street vendor with that spelling and have not been able to call them prawn since!

There was one typo mistake: on our “admin postcard” (not pictured) we did not include the full number for De Hoop (for the purposes of booking accommodation)… We didn’t think it was too much of a train-smash as we also included glossy brochures for the reserve (to give people a taste of where we’re headed) in the invite and all the relevant info is on our wedding website!

Step three: Practical stuff. We got the cardboard (recycled card) printed at rooster’s dad’s company for free (Yay!), cut into postcard size for free from the paper shop where we purchased the card, we cut the millions of rounded corners with our old and our new round corner punches (see how cool it looks!) and secured the bunch of random photos with a funky paper clip.

Step 4: I hand addressed the invites and envelopes in gold pen. Our envelopes are black and long enough to accommodate the glossy De Hoop brochure and in a flash of inspiration (gleaned from the brilliant brides in internetland) we had stickers printed with a mosaic of our pics so that the colour would *pop* on the black!

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The envelope waiting to be stuffed and addressed (and a bit over-exposed)!

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All our little babies waiting to visit the post office and beyond! (If you look closely you will see the little white bird-like corners lying around after much corner punching.) The great new is that the SA Post Office has recently issued fynbos stamps: bloody perfect…

We are thrilled and can’t wait for feedback from our mateys once people start receiving them! Our invites are exactly as we hoped they would be: beautiful, simple, bright, relaxed and memorable. Yay…

 

Suppressing the (sometimesnotsoinner) control freak 8 July 2009

Filed under: being thrifty,De Hoop,fynbos,honeymoon,weekend away wedding (WAW) — hoopfulbride @ 2:52 pm

Two things have happened recently in my personal wedding land that require the Type A in Saartjie to take a forced breather

Firstly, Rooster has been discussing changing our honeymoon plans along the lines of having a mini-moon in the week after our nuptials (to a surprise, African location) and then taking a bit of a longer break at the end of the year and exploring somewhere a little further afield: India, China, Argentina, Ethiopia (some examples)…

Now while I am not averse to changing my plans, once I’ve made a plan I generally like to stick to it. Rooster, on the other hand, likes to chop and change quite a lot. He is a Libra and I am reliably informed that this is a typical Libran quality – although I am generally disinclined to throw my lot in with astronomy, I think the characteristic fits like a glove in this case! So reassessing the whole honeymoon vibe does come as a bit of a major readjustment for me as that box had been ticked. I am convinced, however, that the most marvellous thing about a partnership (as I constantly learn from mine) is that our perspective is continually challenged. So, while he helps me to see new angles when I think a decision has been all tied up, I help him committ to the best possible outcome (all things considered, of course).

I’m beginning to like the idea of mini-moon plus extended december/january holiday more and more! I like the idea of planning a trip together and of exploring a new place together. I like that we take less time off work in September/October (while we both work for ourselves, it is a bit bad from a PR p.o.v. to be absent for too long in the middle of the year). I like that we get to have two fantastic holidays.

Letting go of the control freak…

On the other hand, The Second Issue is not so easy for me to suppress my anal retentive tendencies: The florist is driving me nuts.

To put this in perspective, De Hoop is pretty far from any major metropolis and therefor pretty far from quality vendors. The person we will most probably use to decorate our venue is RIDICULOUSLY reasonable and local and, um, not too “country” (as in unsophisticated, but unsophisticated is too strong a word…). Also, because our venue is in the back-o-beyond, it’s not so easy to pop down to the flower market: blossoms must be ordered well in advance. I have not yet met the actual florist, but i have had several dealings with her daughter-in-law (the person tasked with “communication”) and she seems like a really lovely person in person.

But (m-therf-cker) it may just be the MOST difficult challenge I have ever encountered trying to communicate our vision and enlist their help in bringing it to fruition. This is not for lack of trying: I am a lawyer, I use words accurately for a living and I am used to being able to communicate effectively (if not well). Not with our florists. It has got to the point where the sight of an e-mail from them in my inbox raises my temperature a few degrees as it is certain to contain

EITHER

a quote for something I have never asked for or will never (ever) want (gel candles – I do not want a gel candle within a 50km radius of my reception. No matter how many times I politely stress my dislike of gel candles, they somehow wind back on the following quote);

OR

a quote for something which we are supplying ourselves (eg. old silver, bronze and copper vessels for flowers; recycled jars for candles (they want to rent these for R15 each!));

OR

omit something important which we really would like a quote for for comparative reasons… followed by a LONG (up to a month) break in communication regarding this item while they “compile a quote”… in which time they forget. Again;

OR

An utter miscommunication: we have asked them to quote on flowers and some minor decor items. De Hoop has asked them to quote on setting up the entire reception hall (which is an old barn) with tables, chairs, lighting, cutlery, crockery, etc. We continually are quoted items for De Hoop’s account (despite pointing this out to them) and then they insist they cannot remove the item until they have clearance from De Hoop. Never-mind-we-never-asked-for-the-bloody-item-in-the-first-bloody-place!!!!!!!

Jeepers Creepers.

It’s got to the point where I am ready to walk into their offices and construct my own quote so I do not have to deal with one more ridiculous exchange!

Also, I think I’m arriving at an important, control-freak, kind of decision: they can drop off the flowers and I will find some blessed souls amongst my friends or family to help me pop the stems into the awaiting vases: that way i can rest assured that i do not have to struggle to make myself understood to a person who clearly does not want to understand!

sigh

Disclaimer: we are travelling up to the region next weekend and we will meet with the actual lady responsible for the arranging. If I get a good feeling from her, I will desist with my plan to take over. Otherwise, I’m taking matters into my own hands!

 

Fabulous Frock! 30 June 2009

Filed under: fabulous friends,frock,fynbos,Uncategorized — hoopfulbride @ 3:56 pm

Firstly, I call it a frock because i like the word. Frock has attitude. Dress (unfortunately) is a tad dreary.

Secondly, an apology: I collected the pics of frocks I love and have re-posted below more than 6 months ago, so I’m afraid I can’t credit them. Will appreciate any help in this regard, but I’d rather share than not just because of my faulty memory. (This whole problem is partly because I’m from a place where most wedding dresses on the internet are either not available or become prohibitively expensive to ship. So when brides in the “north” see a dress on the internet they can actually track one down (most of the time). Us CT brides mainly look to the Internet for inspiration and then find a designer to make it. There are a FEW boutiques who import, but it costs about the same as having one made.)

Frock search started with The Green Dress: a seriously HOT frock from Marion and Lindie which i bought for a formal work dinner in 2007 that is (thus far) the most perfect dress for me. The Green Dress is so hot is defies dreariness, so I can happily eschew “frock” for “dress”. From the moment I clamped eyes on it, I felt like that dress had been made for Saartjie-Sar. So, I knew my wedding dress would take a LOT of inspiration from The Green Dress (who wouldn’t want EVEN more hotness?)…

These were also my inspiration:

dress

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dress 7

I particularly LOVED the one below – the pockets!

dress 2

dress 6

You’ll note my love of v-necklines and billowing skirts (a feature of The Green Dress): I am a pear, but i have great cleavage, so these styles show off the bust and flatter the hips/bottom…

So, a month into my engagement, I was happily collecting inspiration and asking around for talented designers/dressmakers when fate stepped in: (it was dramatic)

My nyc mateys (some I met here, some I met in nyc when i lived there for a few months in 2004) were in all town for a wedding in December last year. One Saturday morning we met for brunch at a good friend’s cafe and went for a wonder past the shops in the road after our harissa eggs (or whatever delicious concoction she fed us that morning).

I casually glanced into the window of a particular store (Lunar) and there she was: a raw silk frock with a giant blushing bride (type of fynbos) picture hand-painted onto the skirt! Now bear in mind that at this stage I had not been engaged long. And that Rooster and I had not formally discussed fynobos themed weddings at all: we were just enjoying being engaged and drinking all those bubbles. But that dress just cried out to be tried on: I knew it, my nyc mateys knew it and The Flautist (also at brunch) knew it.

Here she is (sorry for small pic):

The Dress

Huh? Jeepers, creepers it is beautiful. Here’s a pic of me looking suitably excited and amazed at my incredible luck in said frock:

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But, Internet, you’ll notice one problem: the neckline – no sexy clevage in that frock. Or the one above… which turns out is not actually such bad news after all, because that flower is a print taken from a hand-painting and not the hand-painting itself! Which meant that the dress can be made to order to incorporate the little quirks that are perfect for me.

My fabulous frock is currently being constructed by the marvellous Karen (seriously marvellous.) from Lunar… with a v-neck and pockets!!! The process of having a dress made for me by an amazing designer is sublime – it is truly an amazing experience to have a dress made from scratch based on my body. She has taken no measurements, just pinned and tacked on my body: at each fitting that frock sits even more beautifully on my frame.

And that, is the story of my fabulous frock, which i love even more each time i see it…

 

On chosing how to spend money for the biggest party of our lives…

Yes eastsidebride! Yes Meg! Yes Accordions and Lace!  How clever and articulate you ladies are. I have been mulling over your posts on wedding budget and this is my take on how we’re spending money:

Rooster and I consider ourselves extremely lucky to have a decent budget to play around with for our wedding because, simply put, we love to throw a party… and we are, for 200 people! All things considered, we probably have exactly the right amount. If we have more, we’d probably bank the cash (and buy a new car  or travel or a little holiday nest in the mountains or something) and if we’d had less, we’d just be a little less hospitable (as explained below).

We’ve approached our spending with a tight-fisted “spiral” philosophy: the smaller or closer it is to us or our wedding venue, the happier we are to spend money one it. The further away or bigger, the more we try to avoid it. In other words, we have tried our darndest to spend small and close with those in our immediate community. For example:

  • What we or our families can make or collect ourselves (without inflicint any kind of pain), we have: invites and other paperwork, “favours” (welcome pack on arrival with note and little bottle of liqueur and rusks to take home to enjoy with coffee in the morning), vases (all old silver and bronze from our family and friends), candle holders (recycled jars) and pickled beetroot as salad.
  • We have used and will use friends and family (or friends of friends) for our cake, beauty, hair, make-up, ceremony music, rings, dog collar for cowboy, photographer and videographer.
  • Our wines, florist, hire of equipment (most of it) and food (including fish and lamb for the braai/bbq which is the main mean) are from businesses or farms or fishermen in the area around De Hoop.
  • Where we have not been able to find a personal contact or someone near De Hoop, we’ve tried to support South African micro-businesses or crafts people in cape town: bridesmaids dresses are from a local SA designer, as is my dress (although she has imported the silk from London to ensure it is made under fair conditions), flower girl dresses will be made by an INCREDIBLY talented refugee woman (from Somalia) who makes her living by sewing, bridal party shoes are from a Pakistani street vendor who brings in leather and beaded shoes made in his village (ok, not southafrican, but still micro), the bulk of our guest registry will be with small bespoke stores we adore in ct (only some stuff from the online giants for guests from further away), dj (a young guy starting out) and cocktail hour musician (an Angolan singer-guitarist who plays beautiful afro-brazilian music), south african recycled paper to print invites from our local paper store etc…
  • Only for VERY few items have we resorted to splashing out or buying in bulk from big stores (sorry chinese children…). I have insisted we pay a slightly ridiculous amount on hiring chrystal candle holders because i am in love with them SO much. We will also probably buy stuff like candles, etc, en masse because I’m cheap like that. Rooster is buying his suit from a local boutique that imports suits from Italy (although the guy is himself going to source a suit that fits him perfectly!) – tad more expensive than local, but not ridiculous and the suit is BEAUTIFUL.

As a result of this philosophy, a few very awesome things have happened: friends have offered to do things for free or have offered us amazing discounts. Locally sourced products and vendors (already cheaper) have offered to let us use their products at a discounted rate. And for the bulk-buys, we’ve been able to hunt for bargains (because I love a bargain…). So, we’ve saved LOADS of cash compared to the same wedding if our philosophy was any different. Yay…

For the most fleeting of moments, we thought about holding onto the cash: perhaps even being “responsible” and investing, but it occurred to us that we could share the love a little more! So we subsidised accommodation at De Hoop for all our guests. We’re paying for accommodation for our close family, the wedding party and their partners! We’re also paying for the accommodation for the wedding fairies who are helping us for free! And my aunt (my dad’s only sister) and uncle who were recently laid off and have both had to settle major medical bills recently: we can pay for their accommodation too!

We’re still trying our hardest in these times to scrimp and save wherever possible and we do have moments of unease where we worry about how much cash we’re spending on just one party (at least it’s a WAW so it’s a whole 4-day vibe…). But actually, what good does it help to splurge on the silly things at our wedding, then pass the cost of travelling and accommodation onto our guests?  Times are tight for everybody and it is a real privilege to be able to treat our guests, even if only a little bit.

 

bride-crush #2 29 June 2009

Filed under: bride-crush,fabulous photographers,fynbos — hoopfulbride @ 5:18 pm

Jani, you are exqusite…

Jani

At first I kept returning to this page because of the flowers and decor: the use of fynbos is SO inspiring for a gal whose wedding will revolve around fynbos (apparently decor is by “Chocolate Blossom” but, search as I might, I can’t find a link for them…). I adore her bouquet and the men’s buttonholes are cuteasabutton and the tables are too delightful…

bouquet and boutonnere

centre piece

But, actually, Jani just has fantastic style. How awesome are her earrings and ring??? I love them a million times over… Her dress is EXQUISITE (by Didi couture) and her husband is dreamy. She just looks so creative and fun and like the kind of girl you could spend a long holiday with!

Jani's jewellry

Jani 2

Thanks Jani and Marco for having such an inspiring wedding and to Nikki Meyer for capturing it!